How i have made my life better (eco-friendlier, vegan, frugal, less wasteful) - vol1

I have recently made quite a few changes in my life and a lot of it has been to be more eco-friendly, less wasteful, more aware, and better for my health and our future kids health. And i would love to share this with you. I understand not everything is for everyone. This is my opinion and how i live my life. I am not here to force you to do any of this. Here merely to maybe inspire someone who needs that. Or show someone how to save money, be more frugal, healthy and save our planet a bit too. I hope you enjoy this. All questions and comments are very welcome!

1. Less wasteful life.

I have been intrigued by zero-waste lifestyle for a long time. But before i get into that, let me tell you that all this began when i was a kid. We were more or less always shopping in markets and op-shops (second hand shops are called op-shops in Australia). And i got very used to it. I think back then it was due to the fact that providing in a post soviet union for 5 kids wasn't easy, but is was possible with wonderful op-shops in Estonia. I miss them so much! So from early on, i saw that reusing, recycling is totally okay and fun. I loved getting new things from op-shops and going to the market to buy food was really enjoyable!
So now, as an adult, i have continued to do so whenever i can, but not just that. More than that, i have learned to think about my needs. Yes, needs. Not wants, not when i can shop. But when i need and do i really need this? It touches a bit of minimalism. Which is a concept of having minimal possessions in order to reduce world wide waste problem and live a simpler life. We all have too much stuff. Yes, stuff. There's stuff in our cupboards, wardrobes, shelves, drawers, tables, bags, boxes, garages, cars, all over the place. But have you ever walked in a doctor's waiting room, or someone's home and it was all very minimal decor, everything had purpose and its place and that felt so peaceful and calm? Well that's minimalism. 

1a. Minimalism.
Before your next shop, think if you don't already have that item. Do you really need five pairs of shoes? Really? I mean, yes we are all good at justifying our purchases ( i know i am, especially if we are talking about ice-cream or chocolate :D ), but really. Define in your life, what you NEED! Not want, not desire, not long for. But need. Are you gonna live without it and everything will be fine? If that is a yes, even when you don't want to admit it. Then please don't buy more stuff to your life and clutter your life even more. 
Maybe instead, take a weekend and take good hard look over your belongings. Do you have like 7 handbags, 4 pairs of sneakers? Too many books you never have read, or read once and never will again? Maybe you have too many things on your desk? Do you really need those things? Do they spark joy in your life? Do these things make you happy and serve a purpose? Or is it just useless junk that you haven't dared to throw out, donate to an op-shop, pass it along to someone who might need it, sell it? When we take a good hard look, then we often realize, that we have so many things we don't need. I know i have. I am currently staring at, as i am writing this, our shelf here, that has way too many towels. I mean how many towels does a person need? Maximum two right? One is in the wash and then you use the other one.

I have downsized my life very greatly. My wardrobe is only one hanger full of clothes. One of those open concept things. I wanted us to have visual wardrobe option, so we see if it gets too cluttered and too many things. Same way we have donated a lot of CD-s, DVD-s, books and all sorts of things to local op-shops. Let these things make someone else happy.

I know this is hard. But i promise you, it will make your life easier. How? Well think about the fact that a lot of women face the wardrobe nightmare every morning "what am i gonna wear!?", or "I have nothing to wear!" - while staring at a full wardrobe of clothes. Go through them and take each item, hold it in your hand and ask yourself:
* Do i love how this item makes me feel? (are you comfortable in it? Is it itchy, scratchy, too tight, too loose, too short/long, does it make you look good....etc)
* Do i really need it ? ( If you already have 2 pairs of jeans, then i am sure you don't the other 10. Stick with basics, like say one pair of black and one blue jeans.). Keep items that are good with one another.

Doing your whole life this way is a good way to declutter, live life simples (less clothes= less choices in the morning what to wear), reduce waste and really own things that actually make you happy.

We tried this in our kitchen too at one point. I put away all duplicates. There was just two us so 2 plates, 2 forks,knives, glasses,bowls etc. This encouraged us to do dishes quicker, which kept sink clean, which made us less stressful cause nobody had to think that there's a load of dishes waiting.

1b op-shops(second hand shops)

So that's another topic. You might wonder why you should do that right? I know quite a lot of people who don't understand why i'd want someone else's clothing. Well, let me tell you there's quite a few reasons. 
* Ethical - if you know that most fast fashion items that you can afford for cheap are made in China, Indonesia or any other poor country, often with child labor and way too low salaries, do you want to support that by buying those items? I don't. I am not perfect. Let me say this again, i am not perfect. Yes there are times when i choose to go to cheap shops, like Target or K-mart and others, to get cheap things i'll explain this later. So going to op-shop will help reduce the amount of people who buy these cheap and unethical clothes.
*Eco-friendly. Not sure about the statistics world wide, but Americans throw away EACH about 80 pounds of clothes a year. (that's 36kg ) Imagine 36kg of clothes. That's like one very big travel suitcase. Very big and heavy one. Now imagine your whole family with those suitcases. Add your other relatives, your neighbors, co-workers, friends, every single person you know. How many suitcase full of clothes are you seeing? And that's every single year. Not one time. EVERY YEAR. What it might do to our planet? You more than likely don't want to know. Reduce that waste, by donating things that don't fit, or you don't wear and while you are at that op-shop donating, shop there. :)
* Unique. A lot of items in those cheap shops are cheap. Therefore a lot of people can afford that. Therefore you are wearing something really nice and someone else walks by and wears the same thing. And then you see about 5 more people with the same thing, the same day. Go to an op-shop and more than likely you get unique things that won't be repeated that often.
* Saving money. In Australia sadly, there aren't many op-shops that would be cheaper than Target and K-mart. (Which is what i was talking about before why i sometimes go there) BUT if you are blessed and lucky, you can find a lot of things cheaper in op-shops. Say furniture. We got our couch there, my tiny desk, kitchen table and chairs and a whole lot of kitchen stuff too. If you like food in glass jars like me, also op-shop is an option (like beans, flour, all the dry goods can be placed in glass jars). There's so many things you can get from op-shops. From furniture, to toys, to clothes, books, Bibles etc. Why would i want to pay more for a new thing, when this used one is perfectly fine. :)
* Long lasting items. Very often when things get to the op-shop, they are already used, worn and tested. Therefore you can see if this item will last. Say a sofa. You can see where it has been sat on, if you can tell. Or shoes, you'll see if they are gonna tear at the seams, or come out of the glue somewhere. Very often i get things that are high quality in op-shops and they often outlast my cheap buys from cheap shops.
*Charity. A lot of op-shops are run by charities. They help those in need. You buying your items there means they can help more people. And you don't have to donate money for that, but just shop there.

1c Eco-friendliness (less wasteful life)

When you do buy things, buy things that last. And try avoiding plastic as much as possible. Our earth is drowning in plastic. From your drive through straws, cup lids, plastic forks and knives, coffee cups, packaging and so on. So when you do buy things, maybe invest in things that are reusable. Instead of getting a plastic straw, buy a metal straw and carry that with you. Instead of water bottle from the shop, buy a refillable/reusable one. There's hundreds of different choices out there, to pick your favorite. Metallic ones are the best i believe and will last you years and years. Instead of letting the grocery shop give you plastic bags, which often don't get reused, bring your own bags. Every time. Put one bag in your purse for small purchases. Keep the shopping bags in your car for grocery shop trips. Instead of tissues, use handkerchiefs. Instead of buying your lunch, bring your own lunch. Instead of plastic bottle shower gel, buy soap. Preferably with no packaging or with just paper packaging (which is recyclable). There's literally thousands of things you can do to reduce waste and save money in the long run. 
Re-use things, recycle things, upcycle things when you can. If you aren't already on Pinterest, i do recommend signing up and you can find loads of ideas there. Same with YouTube. Just type in whatever you want to reduce, recycle, upcycle and voila, plenty of ideas.
Random example: Use toilet roll middle thingie as a gift wrap, or as seeding starter.

This is not all. This is just the beginning. And there's so much more. But i'll let you get started with this, if you'd like. I mean, you wonder why i care about environment, the planet and such? Well, i am living on this planet. I breathe the air that our planet produces. And i am hopefully gonna have grandkids one day and me making changes now, will help the earth hopefully to be still a livable environment when they come around. I want to leave a good legacy behind. And change always starts with ourselves.

To be continued...

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